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There’s only one negative remark that can be made about the iSight: the cable is too long. Yeah, yeah, I know I’m splitting hairs when I’m griping about cable length, but (as a 12" PowerBook user) the included 1.8m firewire cable is about as practical as… well… anything that’s six times too big. A pair of pants, for example. If your legs were only twelve inches long you’d be rightly pissed about wearing 1.8m pantaloons; constantly tripping over that which is supposed to make you look hip and virile, having to roll up your trouser legs like some kind of deck–a–swabbin’ sailor… it hardly seems right.

That’s how my computer feels.

With nary a foot between the top of my screen and the firewire port at the side of the keyboard, the almost–six feet of the Apple–supplied cable is patently ridiculous. G5 iMac owners will no doubt experience the same problems (distance between display ceiling and firewire port, one and a half feet), as will new Cinema Display owners (two feet, maximum, and that’s on a still–yet–to–ship 30" behemoth), as will those long–suffering CRT eMac owners (one and a half feet). The only people that benefit from this incredibly long cable? People with older hardware (and, just for the record, old == uncool. Ask anybody).

To be more specific, the only people taking advantage of the full cable length are people with old–school cinema displays that don’t sport an in–built firewire hub… whose machine is underneath the desk… tucked away in another room. And something tells me these people are of a declining population.

Even more amusing is that Apple recently re–released the iSight hardware; missing a prime opportunity to ditch the longer, more expensive cable for something that actually fit with their machines (the rumors surrounding the ‘iSight 2’ were a little overblown, of course… the only visible change was the inclusion of a magnetic mount). In a fit of rage and with a desire to defect in one’s belly, one might consider looking elsewhere for his cable: XtremeMac’s 1–foot XWireGold, for instance, only to find (from a strangely apologetic support staffer) that the plug molding won’t fit the iSight mounting… nor will any non–Apple firewire mold. At the end of the day, though, when you’re ready to spin a noose and hang yourself with your too–long pearly white firewire cable, just chill out. Breathe. And go garrote somebody.

Other than that the iSight’s great.


Editing is such a prick of a business. Earlier today, sitting in the university refectory, sipping a vanilla coke, aching to go the bathroom (and wondering why I continued to drink the coke despite my bladder’s complaints), cutting and pasting and undoing and redoing changes, adding links, reading and re–reading, making sure I’m fit to hit ‘Post’ before allowing myself the pleasure of relieving an immense pressure in my gut (you’ll have to excuse the potty talk), and I lose my whole goddamn paragraph about the 0.5m cable in the Apple Store.

So yeah… the solution to my problem is a fifty–centimeter cable from Apple. Fits the mount, almost ideal length (even better suited to the aforementioned iMac, eMac, and larger PowerBook users), and almost impossible to get your hands on. For reasons that are beyond me the local dealers don’t deign to carry cables of such measly length.

A woman at DigiLife’s new mini–store in the Carillion Arcade actually denied their existence, and then had the gall to suggest I coil the original cable up and tie it off with a cable tie. Deviously clever, that one, but not bright enough to throw me off the scent. Long story short: I’ll be procuring one of these cables in short order along with a PocketDock, which will cut my cable load considerably for the trip at the end of the year. Because we all know how much room firewire cables occupy.

Stabs in the dark

New, from the land of lousy hardware design… Virgin’s new “player” (the quotes are intended to draw attention to the ridiculousness of the name, not to bring into question its ability to play) looks to be fairly interesting… a 5GB HD–based music player with specs that are, for all intents and purposes, built to outshine the iPod Mini at exactly the same price point. And while I’m glad the words “iPod killer” aren’t being bandied about too much (exception), the marketing jive couldn’t take any more stabs at Apple if it tried. Snip:

5GB means you’ve got room for over 1200 songs or 80 CDs — give or take a few. No matter how you slice or dice it, we're talking 25% more space than 4GB.

No shit. 5 is 25% greater than 4? If only there were a competitor’s product that only had 4… we’d look way cooler than them.

Built–in FM radio tuner means you don’t have to carry two devices or pay extra to listen to your favorite shock jock morning show or politically correct news program.

Now if only there were something worth listening to on the radio… and if only I hadn’t paid all this money so I could walk around listening to my CD collection instead of the radio while dozens of incredibly tiny and incredibly cheap radio headsets lay abandoned on the side of the road.

The Virgin Player 5GB rusn music purchased from: Virgin Digital, Real, MusicMatch and coming soon, any Plays For Sure compatible service. Songs downloaded from iTunes are not supported. Its their choice, not ours.

OK, the spelling error is understandable —everybody hits a few keys out of order every now and then— but if an editor who was perhaps familiar with common usage of hyphens, apostrophes, colons, and (oh, I don’t know) commas were employed we might even have half a shot with the comprehension.

That aside, they’ve rightly smacked Apple’s wrist for not playing nicely with the other kids… but somehow manage to insinuate that they’re really missin’ out on something by doing so. I’m sure Apple is real sore about their decision to stay on top.

Virgin DJ watches what you do and plays the music accordingly. For example, it will let you listen to the songs you just loaded or the top 20 played songs on your device.

Almost like a smart playlist would. Inconceivable.

Now, with all these cool features and a price point matching the iPod Mini, you might even think Apple has a little competition on its hands… but so long as the Virgin Player looks like a hunk of shit with a highly–derivative (yet still entirely sucky) UI I’m gonna guess they’re safe. That is, unless this shocking data ever goes public.


From today’s The West Australian, wherein they attempt to elucidate the finer points of drugs and drug–taking to their largely baby–boomer readership:

Symptoms for overdose include muscle spasms, increases in blood and body temperature, laboured breathing, nausea and vomiting, coma and death.

Death is a symptom of drug overdose now? That’s kinda like saying childbirth is a symptom of pregnancy, non?


A Perfect Circle’s recent cover of Lennon’s Imagine is haunting; which I suppose is appropriate, given the time of year. Emma and Richard went all Halloweeny weeks ago.

Who’d’ve thought a little thing like minor key would change a song so much? Between the song itself (available on all good P2P networks) and the video clip (via) I’m positively moved. And you know what it takes to move a cynic like me these days.

Bar etiquette

Having the pleasure of working in one of Satan’s Strongholds, I’ve noticed a lot of people are either unfamiliar with how to behave in a bar/pub/nightclub/liquor store or they’re just morons. While I suspect the latter, I must hope for the former and pray that these tips will help them see the light:

  1. Don’t assume that your favorite brand is the only brand available. Asking for “a beer” or “a bourbon and coke” may not yield the desired result, and you’ve just waived the right to grumble.
  2. Don’t complain that a single isn’t strong enough
  3. Don’t complain that a double is too expensive; get this: it’s two singles.
  4. That slice of lemon in your water is a privilege, not a right.
  5. No, there isn’t a law mandating free water in bars. If there were, all those pillhead bars in Northbridge would go out of business.
  6. The old drunk at the end of the bar is not “gross”, he’s been drinking here longer than you’ve been alive. He commands your respect.
  7. Just because I gave him a free beer doesn’t mean you’re gonna get one. Stop winking at me.
  8. Giggling and tossing your hair will get you nowhere. A phone number might.
  9. That law about me not serving you if you’re too drunk is real, and you’d best remember that I’m the one who gets to decide what ‘too’ drunk is.
  10. The story about you forgetting your ID is funny —it is— but think how much funnier the story of how you had to walk in the rain to three different bars before one of them would buy your lousy ID story will be. You’ll be able to tell it to your grandkids.
  11. The peanuts may be free, but every shell that hits the floor costs you a dollar.
  12. You’re the one asking for the drink, so you of all people should know what it’s called.
  13. There is no such spirit as “Jim Bean”.

Nite night

We here at decaffeinated dot org (or, as the case may be, me here at decaffeinated dot org) do cordially extend to you an invitation to the Perth Blognite tomorrow night, October 27, at 6:30 in the PM. Despite sounding roughly analogous to one of the venerated meetups, I swear to you it is nothing of the kind; it’s a whole new animal and I do suggest that non–bloggers and the blog–curious attend. Myself and seven of my eager compatriots will be espousing the value of weblogs —and all the funky shit one might do with a weblog— at Curtin University’s Norm Dufty Lecture Theatre; with podiums and half–time entertainment and a podcast for non–attendees. As I understand it, the event is a kind of water–tester for a larger blogger conference next year — no doubt the first of its kind in Australia. Hell, Graeme’s reporting with some conviction that tomorrow night’s programme is the first of its kind in Australia too; something that makes me feel all warm and tingly inside… like a pioneer. Also like tequila shooters.

Attention from the legitimate press is always encouraging, and amusingly enough I’m speaking last, which from my rock’n’roll glory days tells me I’m the headline act and that everybody is just waiting through the support acts for me to take the stage… but in reality it can mean only one of two things. The crowd will be either:

  1. totally pumped and super–psyched
  2. dwindling… rubbing their eyes and yawning from time to time.

Two possibilities, one slightly better than the other; my preference is obvious. For reasons I’ve been unable to discern, registration is required (or at least requested) of attendees; so for registration and some more accurate information regarding tomorrow evening’s events you’d best check the blognite site. I’ll be discussing blog–friendly APIs and rich client software; a subject which might be considered a little ‘dry’ for the layman, so I dutifully pledge to try and keep it moist. Plus, since we each only speak for ten minutes, max, the incentive to keep things sharp and interesting is high (not that the thought of boring a roomfull of scholars and journalists isn’t incentive enough), so come check us out.

Nites of the Round Table

Regarding last night: all said and done, awesome. I personally doubted the crowd’s perseverance as we entered our fourth hour of talks, so I trimmed the fat a little on my nerdy API/Beyond the Browser software speech and managed to have us out of the building before security dragged us away. And considering people were arriving as early as 6 PM, that’s a helluva long time to be in and around a lecture theatre with blogging the only topic of conversation.

The venue, which Bret, Rich, and I had checked out earlier that day, was top–notch. Great AV gear that worked without a hiccup, excellent acoustics, and a great crowd. Later, during the snack stop at Oriel, Anthony expressed regrets at some of his half–time sushi antics when he found out there were PhDs in the crowd. Feh. In my experience, PhD == nerd, so you’re fairly safe waving your low–carbon–steel Hanso Sword around the place offering the ladies “an extra large slice of tuna”.

Robert’s presentation blew me away, and if I be permitted to invoke one of the few vocabulary infixes the English language has to offer: fan–fucking–tastic. As soon as the podcast goes up I’ll be linking it, and I would hope he plans to follow Richard’s lead and post his notes to his blog.

Dave and Tama have writeups and photos, and to answer Tama’s question: yes, the comparison between myself and Xander has been made before… though almost exclusively by Buffy fans. Any Michelle Trachtenburg lookalikes in the market for a sugar daddy are encouraged to apply.

Pearls of Wisdom: #48

The lower floor of a double–decker party bus is redundant. Since everybody wants to ride on the top floor, they should just make regular buses really tall.

Novelty: 1
Practicality: 0